New York City skyline at night




Ellen Peckham

Safety Yellow

(Above the Plaza de Armas, Ariquipa)

Curbs demarked in harsh, static yellow lines,
taxis (the same color) moving around the square,
accentuate that fellow's "safety yellow" shirt
as he crosses under the balcony.



Midnight. Arbitrary concept declared to be here, now.
But yet to arrive an hour later a very few miles away.
There it will also be accounted, unreasonably, precise.

Yet in between where time should creep along earth's curve
it does not register its course. Surely readings could now be
specific to where we are, not to an outmoded system of grids.

Time should be accounted in miniscule increments, triangulated,
as cell calls are; exact. In this age of technology I should not
need to consider leaping distances.

I look at a clock saying "12" and, as it is dark,
I call it "midnight". Sleepless I pretend
I am waiting to call you who are somewhere else,

in another zone. Knowing all the time I can't.
For where you are there is no timeat all.


On Leaving Shelter — October '93

Old, un-pruned, overshadowed
all these twenty-odd years
the trees hardly bore.

An apple or two — hard, wormy
fell discouraged long before ripeness
browsed by undiscriminating deer
and worms.

This year, as we pack the fruit is thick
and determined. The lawn is
scattershot green and carmine globes.
Like good hosts they've given lavishly.

Hostly they'll wave us off, glad to see us go
hoping the next lot will be more appreciative,
more cooperative, better husbandsmen.

In the studio stove I'm burning apple wood.



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